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Continuing professional development (CPD) is an important part of our professional standards, which aim to improve public safety and confidence in social work. CPD is the reflection and learning activity that social workers undertake throughout their career to maintain and improve their practice. 

Important message

We’re aware that some people are having problems recording CPD in the structured and unstructured forms on their online account. This occurs when using legacy internet browsers such as Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 or 10 or any other browsers that are no longer supported by their manufacturer. You should be able to use our system using manufacture-supported versions of: Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Edge.

What is CPD?

CPD is the reflection and learning activity that social workers undertake throughout their career to maintain and improve their practice. 

You should record CPD on a regular basis as part of your registration. It’s important to remember that CPD is not just about attending training courses. Although formal training can be an important aspect of learning, especially in areas of social work with statutory responsibilities, CPD can be any activity you feel would benefit you and your practice.

This can include anything from learning from complaints and understanding where things went wrong, to podcasts, articles and book clubs, and also work you have done through other frameworks and programmes, such as assessed supported year in employment. We won’t give direction or advice on what CPD you should do, but we do encourage you to think creatively about your learning, including the things you’re already doing in your role, so you can demonstrate how you meet the standard for CPD. What’s important is that your learning is relevant to your role and that it focuses on the application of your learning in practice.

We’ve not specified an amount or type of CPD that you should complete. You should decide how much CPD you need to do, taking into account your personal circumstances and how you’re practising at the time.

There are six professional standards for social workers. The fourth standard relates to continuing professional development. 

You may find it helpful to read our guidance on CPD.

Our CPD standards

Standard 4: maintain my continuing professional development

Our professional standard relating to CPD (standard 4) sets out our expectations for what you need to do to maintain your registration.

As a social worker, I will:

4.1 Incorporate feedback from a range of sources, including from people with lived experience of my social work practice.

4.2 Use supervision and feedback to critically reflect on, and identify my learning needs, including how I use research and evidence to inform my practice.

4.3 Keep my practice up to date and record how I use research, theories and frameworks to inform my practice and my professional judgement.

4.4 Demonstrate good subject knowledge on key aspects of social work practice and develop knowledge of current issues in society and social policies impacting on social work.

4.5 Contribute to an open and creative learning culture in the workplace to discuss, reflect on and share best practice.

4.6 Reflect on my learning activities and evidence what impact continuing professional development has on the quality of my practice.

4.7 Record my learning and reflection on a regular basis and in accordance with Social Work England’s guidance on continuing professional development.

4.8 Reflect on my own values and challenge the impact they have on my practice.


Last updated: 6 January 2020


How to meet the CPD standards